Saturday, June 27, 2020

From Ian:

Ruthie Blum: The link between George Orwell, George Floyd and the Jews – opinion
THIS HELPS shed light on the sudden surge in the interest of American Jews to immigrate to Israel. Between the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent anti-white demonstrations across the country – both of which were accompanied by antisemitic undertones – Jews who had spent years, if not decades, toying with idea of relocating to the Holy Land, began to take concrete steps in that direction.

According to the aliyah-facilitating organization Nefesh B’Nefesh, this May saw a record number of applications from North America – the highest in a single month since its founding 18 years ago. In anticipation, the Jewish Agency told the Knesset to prepare for the wave of new immigrants.

Though good news for Israel, it is a bad sign of the times. Jews never before have felt the need to flee the US. If they made aliyah, it was by choice. That so many even are considering such a move during the global economic crisis, caused by coronavirus lockdowns, indicates uncharacteristic desperation.

Their malaise is understandable. So is their hope that Israel will provide a safe haven from progressive totalitarianism. The problem is that Israelis mimic Americans, which is why a vigil for Floyd, replete with Black Lives Matter signs and slogans, was held in Tel Aviv.

It is also the reason that Israeli pundits who appear regularly on one or another of Israel’s main TV channels assert – with idiocy disguised as authority – that America suffers from “systemic racism,” which “everyone knows” is the fault of US President Donald Trump.

Alas, if Israel weren’t surrounded by Iranian proxies and other external enemies armed to the teeth, it easily could end up bathing in – not just drinking – the cancel-culture Kool-Aid.

Israel, like the rest of the West, needs a strong and healthy America, not one forced into submission by fanatics bent on altering its nature and fundamental principles. Black Lives Matter and its sycophants must not be mistaken for people who care about the likes of George Floyd. They should be seen and understood in the context of George Orwell.
The Left's message of 'Peace with the Palestinians' is brainwashing
For half a century the Left has been brainwashing us with a simple but devious message: “Peace with the Palestinians instead of war.” Ignore the reality that the Arab and Muslim world, aided by the Soviet Union sought Israel’s destruction, and still does. Peace now! It was a powerful drug that continues to numb our critical thinking.

Although enticing, however, peace campaigns were not about peace; they were about creating a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. The first stage was accomplished beginning in 1993 with the Oslo Accords, which established the Palestinian Authority run by the PLO, and the withdrawal of Israeli control from large sections of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) and eventually from the Gaza Strip. None of this brought peace, of course, but the opposite: waves of terrorism. Solemn commitments made by PLO leaders were meaningless, a subterfuge to advance their agenda to destroy Israel. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups were clear and explicit. The guarantors, the European Union and UN, went along with the hoax.

The basic problem, however, remained: most of the international community considers any Israeli presence beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines to be “illegal” and a “violation of international law” – as they interpret it. Major organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the designated authority of the Fourth Geneva Convention, an important basis for humanitarian law, declared Israel was “occupying Palestinian territory.” The UN, the EU and of course the entire Arab and Muslim world agreed; the ICJ and ICC gave it their “judicial” support.

In order to “end the occupation,” therefore, the only solution was for Israel to be removed from all of the areas conquered by the IDF in the 1967 Six Day War, withdrawing to the 1949 Armistice Lines. The issue of “peace,” and Israel’s security were irrelevant, and subject to the next phase.
Michael Doran: The War of Return
What is the core of Palestinian-Israel conflict? Einat Wilf discusses.

Itamar Marcus: Israel must learn to speak 'Palestinese' to punish PA terror perpetrators
We are hearing reports from Israeli officials and media that the PA is telling them it is against armed terror in response to Israel’s expected application of Israeli law in parts of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. However, Palestinian Media Watch has been reporting that the PA messages to its people are openly promoting a terror campaign. Which of these two contradictory PA messages represents the current PA strategy?

The answer is that there is only one PA message and the problem is that Israeli leaders, the media and the international community have not mastered the Palestinian language – “Palestinese.”

First, the signs and messages that the PA wants Palestinian terror to accompany the Israeli announcement are sent daily and in key places. The controlled official PA TV stations are broadcasting extreme terror promotion since the Israeli coalition agreement on April 20, promising annexation. The videos and language resemble the PA TV terror promotion during the PA terror campaign 2000 to 2005, in which over 1000 Israelis were murdered.

There have been calls for suicide bombings: “Strap on the explosive belt, Detonate the first in Haifa and the second in Atlit (both Israeli cities) ... Strap on the belt, O daughter of my land, and detonate it in front of the enemies. How sweet is the taste of Martyrdom, I have found none like it.” This was broadcast on a PA TV station 4 times in the 2 weeks following the coalition agreement.

Other repeating messages on the PA TV stations make it clear that terror is exactly what the PA wants:
“... This great people fights with daggers, knives and cannon shells... ”

“Where is the Arab blood?... Allah is with us. He is stronger and greater than the Children of Zion… My red blood waters the greenery… We are the victors... My chest is a machine gun’s magazine.”

“By Allah, I will redeem Jerusalem with my children.”

Latma 2020, Episode 12
Latma 2020, Episode 12, the last for this season: Mandelblit gets a new job perfectly suited to his talents, Story Time about a traffic signal that insisted on one direction only, and a Latino song to encourage those with doubts about the Deal of the Century. See you next season (God willing not before long).

Pessimisto- Latma sings to those who fear the sovreignty plan

Does Israel train America’s police forces?
Show me who you lie about and I’ll tell you what you are. The big lie in this, our season of historical illiteracy and gratuitous destruction, is that the Jews are responsible for police killings of black Americans. How? The racist police of Amerikkka are trained by the Zionists.

That’s right. America has no history of violence against blacks and no history of anti-black policing. In the new blood libel, America was one big interracial paradise before the Jews taught Derek Chauvin to put his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

‘Israel security forces are training American cops despite history of rights abuses,’ tweeted Charlotte Greensit in 2017. Greensit, an editor at the left-conspiracist website the Intercept, was promoting a demi-literate promotion of this conspiracy theory by Alice Speri. Greensit is now the managing editor of the New York Times’s opinion page. As she slithered up the greasy pole, Greensit deleted thousands of old tweets, this one included. But the snail-trail of slander is quite clear, and not at all new.

As soon as the Ferguson, Missouri protests began in August 2014, the slogan ‘Ferguson is Palestine’ appeared on the placards. When the Movement for Black Lives, a group affiliated with Black Lives Matter, promulgated a common platform in August 2016, its only foreign policy was that Israel must be shunned and destroyed as an ‘apartheid state’ that commits ‘genocide’ against the Palestinians. Another big lie.

In the same month, Amnesty USA claimed that ‘hundreds’ of American law enforcement officials from many states had received ‘training on crowd control, use of force and surveillance’ from Israel’s ‘national police, military and intelligence services’. That’s not true.

Amnesty’s claims are routinely cited as fact by the hard left and radical black identity groups. Its report and the libel it fosters have filtered into outlets as varied as the the British communist newspaper the Morning Star, the Washington Post and the website of the New York Review of Books.

Douglas Murray: Maxine Peake vs Laurence Fox reveals the double standards of the chattering classes
The trouble with double-standards in the age of mass communication is that everybody can see them. Where once an individual, institution or movement might have hoped to conceal their hypocrisies, now they are there for everyone to witness. So it is with the case of Maxine Peake. This week, the actress made headlines because of an interview in which she alleged that the Israelis taught the US police how to kill George Floyd. The problem is that it is a lie. Even the far-Left, anti-Israel group Amnesty – widely alleged to be the source of the story – has denied that it is true. It is simple anti-Zionism reheated to suit the current moment.

So perhaps it isn’t surprising that a Jeremy Corbyn protégée like Rebecca Long-Bailey should have retweeted the interview in which Peake made this claim. Apart from its racism, the interview included the standard actress stuff about the wonders of Corbynism and the importance of bringing down capitalism. They aren’t fools, these actresses. They know that if there’s one way that their profession will be reinvigorated, post-lockdown, it will be through the obliteration of the market economy. But Labour is now in new hands. And Keir Starmer swiftly sacked Long-Bailey. While his predecessor said there was no place for racism at the top of Labour, Starmer has done something to prove it.

But the question I want answered is: where is Equity, the actors’ union? Earlier this year, after the actor Laurence Fox appeared on Question Time, the union (of which he is not even a member) denounced him. Fox’s crime was to say that he didn’t think Britain was a racist country. For this, Equity branded him a “disgrace”. Actor after actor lined up to condemn him and lobby to make sure he never worked again. After Fox took legal action and forced an apology out of Equity, the entire “race equality committee” of the union resigned.

Perhaps this is why Equity have been so silent on Peake. Because there is no one left to do the full witch-dunking denunciation act. Or perhaps the silence is explained in another way. The same way that one might explain the silence of the actors and celebs who clambered over each other to denounce Fox. Could it be that most people in the acting and celebrity worlds are happy with someone who promotes conspiracy theories, so long as it is wrapped up in the fashionable idiot language of anti-capitalism and “equality”?
CAA calls on Sir Keir Starmer to discipline Jeremy Corbyn and group of far-left Labour MPs demanding reinstatement of Rebecca Long-Bailey despite her sharing antisemitic conspiracy theory
Labour’s far-left Socialist Campaign Group of MPs met with Sir Keir Starmer today to express their opposition to the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet after she shared an article containing an antisemitic trope baselessly linking Israel to the killing of George Floyd. Not only did they call for Ms Long-Bailey’s punishment to be reversed, showing that they have learned nothing from this scandal, but they also revealed the extent of their obsession by then managing to spend the rest of the meeting discussing Israel.

Ms Long-Bailey was sacked for sharing an article in which the actress Maxine Peake claimed that Israel was to blame for the killing of Mr Floyd. Ms Peake is reported in The Independent to have said: “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” This is an antisemitic conspiracy theory, as it needlessly and baselessly injects the Jewish state into a matter that has nothing to do with it. Even Ms Peake was forced to admit it was untrue.

Numerous far-left outriders and MPs have tried to claim that casting the trope as antisemitic is to silence criticism of Israeli policy, despite there being no grounds at all for the conspiracy theory that kneeling on people’s necks is an innovation of the Jewish state.

Jeremy Corbyn, the former Leader of the Labour Party, apparently urged Sir Keir in the meeting to take a tough line on Israeli policy and to meet the antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation, Jewish Voice for Labour, presumably in the hope that the group might persuade Sir Keir, contrary to the view of the mainstream Jewish community and elementary logic, that the conspiracy theory is not antisemitic.

It is extraordinary – but wholly unsurprising – that a meeting precipitated by the offensive injection of Israel into an unrelated matter is devoted to discussion of Israel.

Other far-left MPs have also weighed in on Ms Long-Bailey’s behalf in the last two days.
Guido Talks #10 | Rebecca Gone Bailey, XR Goes Nuclear, and Tim Mart-win

Israel records over 600 new infections in past 24 hours; 3 more deaths
The Israeli Health Ministry’s latest data on Saturday evening showed 621 new recorded infections over the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 23,421 total, up from 22,800 on Friday evening. The number of active cases stood at 6,102, up from 5,614 on Friday, including 41 in serious condition, among them 23 on ventilators.

There were 55 people in moderate condition, with the rest experiencing only mild symptoms or none.

The death toll, meanwhile, climbed to 317 Saturday, up three from 314 Friday. This figured includes the 19-year-old young woman who died of COVID-19 at Hadassah-Ein Kerem Medical Center on Saturday, making her Israel’s youngest victim of the disease.

The numbers appeared to continue the rising trend in infection rates, with recent days showing 400-500 new patients a day on average, numbers not seen since early April.

Figures from this week showed that 2,907 were infected over the past seven days, more than the number for all of May.

Also on Saturday, the Health Ministry reported a COVID-19 outbreak at a senior living home in the central city of Ramle that it attributes to health workers at the facility.
Bethlehem announces temporary closure amid coronavirus spike
The governor of Bethlehem announced Saturday the temporary closure of the Palestinian city to contain the spread of coronavirus, after a sharp rise in infections in the West Bank.

The 48-hour closure will begin Monday from 6:00 a.m. (0300 GMT), governor Kamil Hmeid said in a statement.

The closure comes after the West Bank cities of Hebron and Nablus were closed last week for five days and 48 hours respectively. The two cities, alongside Bethlehem, have recorded a major spike in new coronavirus cases.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry announced 67 new cases of the COVID-19 respiratory illness on Saturday, of which 33 were in the Bethlehem district.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem stands at 1,862. Of those, 1,237 are active cases with 11 people in serious condition, including two on ventilators, said PA Health Minister Mai al-Kaila, according to the official Wafa news agency.

Like the West Bank, Israel has also recorded a recent surge in coronavirus cases.

Bethlehem, where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, was initially put into lockdown in March, after recording the first coronavirus case in the West Bank.

Schools were closed and non-essential travel and activities were banned that month, as part of the efforts to tackle the virus.
Meet the man who worked to flatten the curve in Israel’s Arab communities
It was early March in Israel, and Rasool Saada was worried.

Saada, the Arab society lead at Maoz, an Israeli leadership network and incubator, was watching the number of COVID-19 cases in Israel creep up. And he was deeply concerned that the country’s Arab population would be uniquely vulnerable to the spread of the disease.

It seemed the odds were stacked against the close to two million Arab citizens of Israel. In many ways, their situation mirrored that of the country’s ultra-Orthodox: a mistrust of government orders — in particular from the military — tight, close-knit families in crowded neighborhoods and, for many, a disconnect from the regular stream of online updates.

But while Israel’s haredi communities were hit hard by the coronavirus, Arab neighborhoods have emerged relatively unscathed from the pandemic — so far. That’s due to a quick jump to action by community leaders, said Saada, 30, one of the key figures helping to fight the virus, who served as Maoz’s Arab representative to Israel’s National Coronavirus Command Center. There he worked alongside longtime bureaucrat Aiman Saif — a Maoz board member — who headed up the government’s Arab COVID-19 response.

“Until the third week in March, the Israeli government, the Health Ministry, weren’t speaking at all in Arabic,” Saada, a longtime activist, told Jewish Insider in a recent interview. “And it’s not just a language issue, it’s also the content — they weren’t speaking to the Arab society.”

The coronavirus outbreak kicked into high gear in Israel shortly after the country’s third national election, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was often accused of using anti-Arab rhetoric. “There’s a deep mistrust between the Arab society and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Saada said. “People [in Arab communities] won’t believe what they hear from him, and they don’t trust that he is coming to serve them.” (h/t Zvi)

De Blasio: Jews in New York Will be Required to Wear Identifying Mark (satire)
The Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio announced this week that due to Coronavirus restriction infractions by the Jewish community, Jews will be required to wear an identifying mark. The measure was an effort to allow the police to easily identify and stop Jews from doing anything that the State felt was detrimental to society in general.

When asked by reporters what he meant by “identifying mark” the mayor said that had no choice but to enact the measure, and had done careful research on the best way to do so. The mark would resemble a six-pointed Star of David but was actually supposed to represent the structure of the virus and would be made of reflective yellow material. It would be required by all New York citizens with at least one Jewish grandparent to wear the mark on the outside of the clothing, with the mayor saying, “if it was good enough for Israel, it’s good enough for New York”.

The mayor’s office said that other communities were not being targeted because they were less susceptible to the virus due to superior genes and immune systems. His office also said that if Jews are to continue flouting restrictions then further restrictions will be considered such as confining Jews to a single area where “they can be better concentrated” in some sort of enclosure “like a camp.”
Yisrael Medad: When are Territories "Disputed"?
When are territories "disputed"?

When they are not administered by Israel.

French President Emmanuel Macron says France will cooperate with Madagascar to find a solution for the Glorioso Islands, a tiny, uninhabited archipelago in the Indian Ocean which is disputed by the two countries....A joint commission on the issue will hold its first meeting next month.

Macron visited the Glorioso Islands Wednesday — a first for a French president. Located between the French overseas island of Mayotte and Madagascar, the islands used to be part of the French colonies.

Mayotte, moreover, is an overseas department and region of France, an integral part of France.

The five overseas departments and regions of France are:

French Guiana in South America;
Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean;

Mayotte and Réunion in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of East Africa.

All those are a very, very long way from France.

UN investigating ‘abhorrent’ video said to show sex act in vehicle in Tel Aviv
The United Nations on Friday said it was investigating a video that emerged online of what appeared to be a sexual act taking place in an official UN vehicle in Tel Aviv.

In the 18-second video, a woman in a red dress is seen straddling a man in the back seat of clearly marked white UN vehicle. Another man appears to be asleep in the passenger seat. The clip was shared widely on social media on Friday.

A UN spokesperson told The Times of Israel that the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services was “moving very quickly” on an investigation into the incident, and that it had nearly identified the individuals in the clip.

“We are shocked and deeply disturbed by what is seen on the video,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. “The behavior seen in it is abhorrent and goes against everything that we stand for and having been working to achieve in terms of fighting misconduct by UN staff.”
Israel strikes Hamas targets in retaliation for Gazan rocket fire
The Israeli Air Force struck Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip after two rockets were fired towards southern Israel on Friday night, just days after Hamas warned against Jerusalem’s intentions to annex parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley.

IAF jets struck a rocket manufacturing workshop and a weapons manufacturing facility belonging to Hamas in the coastal enclave, strikes which “will impede the Hamas terror organization’s future capabilities,” the IDF said in a statement.

Earlier in the evening, the Israeli military confirmed that the two rockets were fired towards Israeli territory and according to Adi Me’eri, the spokesperson of the Shaare HaNegev regional council, one rocket fell in open territory causing no damage or injuries.

The other one is believed to have fallen inside the Gaza Strip.

Incoming rocket sirens sounded in the Sha’ar Hanegev communities of Nir Am, Gavi’im and the area of Sapir College around 9 p.m.

“The IDF views any kind of terror activity aimed at Israel with great severity and will continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said, adding that Hamas will “bear the consequences” for all attacks against Israel.

On Thursday Hamas warned that Israel’s plans to extend sovereignty over parts of the West Bank would be akin to a declaration of war.

“This wretched decision and plan, we’ll not talk at length, but say it shortly and clearly – the resistance considers the decision as a declaration of war on the Palestinian people,” said the spokesman of the Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigade, the armed wing of Hamas. “The resistance is ready to protect its people and its holy places.”

Hamas says Gaza strikes after rocket fire ‘increase resolve against annexation’
The Hamas terror group on Saturday said that a series of IDF strikes in response to the firing of two rockets at Israel a day earlier “increases our resolve to deal with the annexation plan.”

“Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip tonight is an extension of the aggression against Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It will only increase our resolve to deal with the West Bank annexation plan,” the organization which rules the Gaza Strip said in a statement.

Palestinians in Gaza fired two rockets at Israel on Friday evening, the military said. The rockets apparently fell in open areas and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

One rocket landed in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region, while the second apparently fell within the Strip.

The IDF said in a statement that it had carried out retaliatory airstrikes in response to the rocket fire.

“During the strike, a rocket manufacturing workshop and a weapons manufacturing facility belonging to the Hamas terror organization were struck. This strike will impede the Hamas terror organization’s future abilities,” the IDF statement said. “The IDF views any kind of terror activity aimed at Israel with great severity and will continue operating as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli civilians.”

The IDF said it holds Hamas responsible for all events in the Strip and emanating from the territory, and that the terror group would “bear the consequences” for attacks against Israel.
German magazine accused of anti-Israel bias, turns terrorist into victim
The Hamburg-based magazine Der Spiegel last week was catapulted into a fresh anti-Israel scandal when it published an article allegedly blaming the Israeli police for shooting a Palestinian terrorist.

The title of the Spiegel article read: "Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian at border crossing."

A video showed the alleged Palestinian terrorist Ahmad Mustafa Erekat ramming his car into Israeli soldiers. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Erekat “drove his vehicle quickly towards the direction of a female border police officer who was injured lightly.”

When asked if the headline is anti-Israel, Anja zum Hingst, a Spiegel spokeswoman, told The Jerusalem Post that "no, in this case Spiegel took over a news story from AFP news agency, as clearly shown under the post which is recognizable. It is based on official Israeli information.”

When pressed by the Post if Spiegel plans to correct the headline, zum Hingst said "the first sentence of the lead says that the Palestinian quickly approached an official.” She added that “the report is based on official Israeli information. Of course we don't see anything anti-Israel or antisemitic in this.”

US Congress urges EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization
A large group of bipartisan lawmakers from both chambers of Congress sent a letter to the Delegation of the European Union to the United States on Friday, urging the EU to designate the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) led the letter in the Senate, and Representatives Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) spearheaded the effort in the House. Twenty-six additional members of both chambers joined the letter, including senior senators such as Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

“The United States remains dedicated to combating global terrorism and its enablers, and we encourage our allies and partners to join in this effort. To build on these efforts, we strongly urge the EU to designate the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization,” the letter reads.

The lawmakers commended Germany’s April 30 designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, and Austria’s efforts with a similar proposed resolution.

“In addition to the United States, Canada, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Arab League, as well as several other individual countries, have taken this step,” they wrote. “We also continue to welcome action by individual member states to enact a formal terror designation of Hezbollah in its entirety and ban its activities within their borders.” they wrote.

Ex-Mossad head to 'Post': No one will stop Iran from going nuclear
Nothing will stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, so Israel must work on a menacing deterrent capability to keep the Islamic Republic in check even beyond its eventual attainment of them, former Mossad director Shabtai Shavit has told The Jerusalem Post.

Speaking to the Post about the English version of his book Head of the Mossad (University of Notre Dame Press), which will be out in stores in September, Shavit covered a wide range of other issues, including annexation, cooperation with the CIA, US-China quantum technology competition and counterintelligence.

In the book, he describes how he knows the Iranian people up close from living in Iran in the mid-1960s for 30 months, and from how he cooperated with Iranian intelligence (pre-Islamic Republic) while in Kurdistan in 1973.

Regarding Iran, he said, “I speak as an intelligence man and not as a politician. My starting point – an intelligence officer cannot make assumptions – is to be ready for the worst-case scenario, that down the road they’ll develop nuclear weapons.”

“They are an empire, and they think of themselves as an empire. They believe they will bring light to the nations. They look down on Arabs. They never forgave the Arab conquest and that Arabic was forced on them” and all of the actions to erase their Persian heritage.

Shavit explained further that even as the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War had no victor, Iraq clearly did better, and then-Iranian supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini said ending the war was “like drinking poison.”
IRGC commander threatens Israel in rare message from Syria - report
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force leader Esmail Ghaani recently visited Syria where he threatened Israel and the US, according to Iranian reports.

He went to the border city Al-Bukamal, which is in Syria on the Euphrates river across from Iraq. This is a key area for Iranian weapons trafficking and home to the Imam Ali base. Iran moves precision guided munitions and other weapons through this area and has a network of pro-Iranian militias between Al-Bukamal and Deir Ezzor, a corridor of Iranian influence.

Ghaani said that Iran would continue to fight the “Zionist regime” and the US, and said the US and Israel were supporting ISIS.

Ghaani was appointed after the US killed IRGC Quds Force head Qasem Soleimani in January. He is known for his expertise on Afghanistan and has had a rocky relationship with pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and elsewhere. He doesn’t have the clout that Soleimani has but he is trying to show he can make the same clandestine trips that Soleimani was known for.

In Al-Bukamal he visited a prayer room and posed for photos, two of which were circulated online. The report about his trip was initially published by Tasnim News in Iran, which is close to the IRGC. However, they then deleted the report. It was too late to hide it, though, because dozens of Farsi media had picked it up. The reports name was “US-Zionist conspiracies are not complete.”

Alam TV noted that Ghaani had a “message for the US and Israel.” Russia’s Sputnik headlined their report “from inside Syria.” Rasa News reported the same visit with photos.
Large blast in Iran came from suspected missile site, satellite images show
An explosion that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites, satellite photographs showed Saturday.

What exploded in the incident early Friday that sent a massive fireball into the sky near Tehran remains unclear, as does the cause of the blast. The Fars news agency, which is close to the country’s ultra-conservatives, initially reported that the blast was caused by “an industrial gas tank explosion” near a facility belonging to the defense ministry. It cited an “informed source” and said the site of the incident was not related to the military.

The unusual response of the Iranian government in the aftermath of the explosion, however, underscores the sensitive nature of an area near where international inspectors believe the Islamic Republic conducted high-explosive tests two decades ago for nuclear weapon triggers.

The blast shook homes, rattled windows and lit up the horizon early Friday in the Alborz Mountains. State TV later aired a segment from what it described as the site of the blast.

One of its journalists stood in front of what appeared to be large, blackened gas cylinders, though the camera remained tightly focused and did not show anything else around the site. Defense Ministry spokesman Davood Abdi blamed the blast on a leaking gas he did not identify and said no one was killed in the explosion.

France Confirms It Will Read Black Boxes of Ukrainian Jet Downed by Iran
France said on Friday it would download the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner downed by an Iranian missile in January, easing a stand-off over where they should be read.

France’s BEA crash investigation agency said it was acting at the request of Iran, which remains responsible under global rules for conducting a formal accident probe after acknowledging that the Boeing 737 was downed by its forces.

The Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down on Jan. 8 by an Iranian ground-to-air missile, killing 176 people in what Tehran termed a “disastrous mistake” at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.

Work on repairing and downloading the cockpit voice and data recorders will begin on July 20, the BEA said.

Aviation authorities in Canada, 57 of whose citizens died on board, said they would send a team to Paris to participate.

Iran‘s envoy to the United Nations aviation agency told Reuters earlier this month that the country’s Air Accident Investigation Board had asked the BEA to read the black boxes, though this was followed by conflicting ministerial statements.
Norwegian Found Guilty of Spying for Iran in Denmark
A Danish court on Friday sentenced a Norwegian citizen to seven years in jail after finding him guilty of spying for an Iranian intelligence service and of complicity in a suspected plot to kill an Iranian Arab opposition figure in Denmark.

The 40-year-old Norwegian man, who has Iranian heritage, was arrested in October 2018 after a major police operation in which Denmark temporarily closed its international borders. The court did not give the man’s name.

For several days in late September that year, the Norwegian had observed and taken photos of the home of an Iranian exile in Denmark, as well as the streets and roads surrounding the home, Roskilde District Court said in a statement.

“The court found that the information was collected and passed on to a person working for an Iranian intelligence service, for use by the intelligence service’s plans to kill the exile,” the court said.

The defendant was sentenced to seven years in prison and permanent expulsion from the country, public broadcaster DR reported. It was not immediately clear whether he would first have to serve all or part of the sentence before being expelled.

The defendant, who has denied all charges, immediately appealed against the verdict, DR said.

College Stands by Student Leader Who Claimed Jews ‘Worship’ WW2
The Pomona College senior class president has received little condemnation for reposting a vulgar, anti-Semitic Instagram story claiming Jewish people "hate brown [people]" and "worship" World War II. She also compared the war in Yemen to the Holocaust.

Malak Afaneh, a rising Pomona senior and the class president, also compared the war in Yemen to the Holocaust. "Once again, zionist-israel-birth-right-vacation-stuck-on-comparing-holocaust-to-racism-WW2-worshipping bitches, this should be right up ur alley. oh wait u hate brown ppl," the post read. Afaneh reposted the anti-Semitic picture, saying the post "put into words all I've been thinking."

In a letter to Claremont Colleges community leaders, Afaneh apologized for the anti-Semitic comments and claims she meant to endorse another post.

"When I wrote that my friend ‘put into words what I was thinking,' I was referring to the original tweet highlighting the lack of global responses to the atrocities in Yemen," Afaneh wrote. "In hindsight, I now realize that my friend didn't write the tweet, but rather the anti-semetic [sic] comments below. In my haste to repost her story, I truly didn't mean to amplify the hurtful comments." Afaneh did not respond to request for comment.

The campus has been generous in its response to Afaneh's post. The director of Pomona College Hillel, Rabbi Danny Shapiro, told the Washington Free Beacon that he was more concerned that Afaneh could be "harassed" than he was about the post itself. He said Afaneh's apology was meaningful and satisfactory.

"No student should be shamed and threatened for a lapse in judgment," Shapiro said. "Though we were deeply hurt by the recent anti-Semitic post … we have heard a meaningful apology from this individual."

Pomona College praised Afaneh's response to criticism in the wake of the episode.
Spanish courts strike 2 municipalities’ support for Israel boycotts
Courts in Spain’s third-largest city voided the resolutions of two municipalities that had declared their adherence to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

The 2nd Administrative Appeals Court of Valencia last week nullified the 2016 resolution by Vinalesa, a nearby town of about 4,000 residents, following a lawsuit by the pro-Israel group ACOM. The resolution stated that Vinalesa was a zone “free of Israeli apartheid” and a partner of the local BDS movement.

The judge ruled that the resolution was “a form of incitement to hatred or discrimination according to ethnicity or nationality” and thus contradicts the Spanish Constitution.

The Vinalesa ruling follows a recent one by the 3rd Administrative Court of Valencia, which voided a 2018 resolution by the municipality of that large port city declaring it a part of the BDS movement. The Valencia ruling also cited discrimination.

ACOM lawsuits have resulted in more than 60 nullifications of BDS resolutions by Spanish municipalities either by injunction or by forcing the municipalities to scrap the resolutions in question.

Dutch national rail company offers $5.6 million for Holocaust transport of Jews
The Dutch national rail company said it would pay 5 million euros, or $5.6 million, to Holocaust commemoration institutions, including the museums at three former concentration camps, Westerbork, Vught and Amersfoort.

Dutch Jews said the offer is disappointingly low and urged the company, NS, to reconsider.

NS allocated more than $40 million last year toward compensating survivors. It has also spent millions of dollars on Holocaust commemoration projects.

But the World Jewish Restitution Organization, or WJRO, and the Central Jewish Board of Dutch Jewish organizations said in a joint statement Friday that NS should also offer compensation directly to the families of the Jews it transported to their deaths. It is estimated that NS sent 102,000 Jews to be murdered during the Holocaust.

“Instead of working together with the Jewish community to acknowledge the past and provide a ‘collective expression of recognition,’ NS has chosen once again to act with disregard to the Jewish community that was devastated by NS’s actions during the Holocaust. We urge NS to reconsider,” Eddo Verdoner, president of the Central Jewish Board, wrote in a statement about his organization’s meeting with the chief executive officer of NS, Roger van Boxtel.

“It is a shame that NS has chosen not to take this opportunity” to address the subject, said Gideon Taylor, WJRO’s chair of operations.
New Israeli espionage TV series ‘Tehran’ tackles shadow war with Iran
Israel’s latest hit TV series takes the viewers straight into the heart of the country’s archenemy Iran.

“Tehran” tells the story of Tamar Rabinyan, a young Mossad operative tasked with hacking into and disabling an Iranian nuclear reactor so the Israeli military can carry out an airstrike. But when the mission goes wrong, the agent goes rogue, falls in love with a local pro-democracy activist and rediscovers her Iranian roots in the city of her birth.

It’s a story arc that touches on many of the region’s most pressing fault lines. It’s also the latest episode in the golden age of Israeli television.

After numerous Israeli shows inspired American spin-offs such as “Homeland,” “Hostages” and “In Treatment,” Netflix went a step further by running “ Fauda,” the groundbreaking action series on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in its original Hebrew-Arabic form with subtitles.

“Tehran” marks the next stage, with Apple TV+ purchasing the rights to the eight-part series and signing on to co-produce its international streaming. The espionage thriller, with dialogue in Hebrew, English and Farsi, premiered on June 22 in Israel. It’s looking to take a page out of the “Fauda” success story, mixing fast-pace action scenes with topical political intrigue and personal backstories that touch on the chaotic nature of the region.

“Although it’s a very entertaining show and it has a lot of action, there are a lot of layers,” said Dana Eden, one of the show’s creators. “We just thought it’s very interesting to try to get into Tehran, into Iran, which is a place we really don’t know and really want to know more about.”

Israel considers Iran to be its most dangerous foe, citing its calls for Israel’s destruction, its development of sophisticated missiles and support for anti-Israel militias in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Lebanese group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, all of whom receive funds, weapons, and other forms of support, are considered terror organizations.
'I don't care about politics': Syrian refugee brings his newborn for emergency surgery in Israel
A newborn son of Syrian refugees living in Cyprus recently underwent medical treatment in Israel for a severe heart defect.

Baby Usayed was taken to Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan to undergo an emergency operation, after receiving special permission from the authorities.

The diplomatic operation was the result of a cooperative effort between the Israeli embassy in Nicosia, the Cypriot Health Ministry and Cypriot and Israeli doctors.

The baby's father, Ahmad, said they were told that their son needed specialist treatment that could not be provided in Cyprus and so he and his child found themselves in a place he never imagined he would see.

"I don't care about the relations between Israel and Syria," he said. "My problem isn't political or religious, it's a health problem.

"My son's life is the most important thing in the world to me. I said right away I will go to Israel if needed, I will go anywhere."

The baby would not have survived more than a month without the surgery, said Prof. Alain Serraf, the head of Sheba's Congential Heart Center, who operated on the child.

Israel's envoy to Cyprus Sami Rabel prayed for Usayed's speedy recovery.

"Solidarity during the coronavirus epidemic and the special bond between Israel and Cyprus, granted the special permission for the baby to operated at Sheba Medical Center," he said.

Israeli medics have a long history of treating critically ill children from hostile countries.

The Save a Child's Heart non-profit organization, which is funded mostly by private donors with some contributions from governments, has performed surgery on nearly 5,000 children since it was started about two decades ago.

New Book Tells Tale of Black US Soldiers Who Took in Jewish Holocaust Survivors After Liberating Nazi Camps
Lieutenant John L. Withers Sr. knew he was breaking military rules but did so anyway.

He took in two young Jewish Polish Holocaust survivors just after the end of World War II in 1945. The pair had been in Dachau and other Nazi concentration camps. The two arrived in Dachau two or three days before the Americans got there to liberate it.

They came to live and work in an all-black US Army truck company that Withers Sr. commanded. He could have faced dishonorable discharge from the army had it learned of it. Hiding refugees was obviously against military orders.

This story is told in John L. Withers II’s new book about his father, titled “Balm in Gilead: A Story from the War.” The biblical reference from Jeremiah is used in a line from a slave song, about whether spiritually “there is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole.”

The publication of the book coincided with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Dachau.

Withers Sr. did not resemble the action heroes one sees in movies, his son said.

“My father was 120 lbs and was 5’4” tall,” Withers II told The Algemeiner. “He never lost his sense of compassion.”

The pair of young Holocaust survivors were given nicknames “Peewee” (Mieczyslaw) and “Salomon” (Shlomo). Peewee and Salomon were skin and bones.

“They were emaciated, pale, and covered with sores. They grabbed my father around the knees weeping, asking for them to be taken in,” Withers II said.

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